Summer is upon us. The undergrads have (mostly) left, and the first swarms of mayflies are gone, which means it’s finally patio weather in Kingston. And what a glorious city for patios it is!
Someone once told me that Kingston has the highest number of restaurants per capita of anywhere in Canada. I don’t know if that’s true, but it definitely seems like it. I’m highlighting my top 5 places below, but there are many, many more and I encourage you to add your thoughts in the comments below.
Disclaimer: None of these places have offered compensation for this piece. However, if they want to give us a code/secret handshake that our readers can use for free food/discounted drinks, we wouldn’t object!
And now, in no particular order…
Place #5: Fanatics Sports Lounge – http://www.fanaticssportslounge.com/
Where to begin. If you want to watch a sporting event, this is the place to go. They have TV’s on literally every wall (including the bathrooms), so even on busy nights with multiple games on, you can watch your team. Even their patio has HDTVs where you can take in the game. They also have some of the best tasting bar food you can get. I think this is where I’ll be for most of the Olympics
Best memory: Watching the Canucks/Bruins 2011 Stanley Cup Final, and singing the national anthem with the entire bar. One day, the Ottawa Senators will be back there!
Place #4: The Toucan – http://www.thetoucan.ca/
The Toucan is a great place to kick back and relax with some friends. They’re also incredibly grad-student friendly; Wednesdays feature nachos at half price, Thursdays feature half price food for graduate students and Saturday and Sunday feature their famous $3.99 and $3.49 breakfast respectively (Note: All of those deals require a beverage purchase and Thursday requires valid grad student ID). A covered patio makes this a perfect destination for any weather!
Best memory: Going to the Toucan with grad student friends and managing to have a full meal for $7.50 each.
Place #3: The Red House – http://www.redhousekingston.com/
A newcomer to the Kingston night scene, the Red House is noticeable due to the lack of signage that it exists. The only indication is the brightly painted red door that belies a beautifully restored interior. Inside, it’s a warm, inviting place that seems more like a cottage than a bar. A giant center table encourages strangers to mingle and chat, and the food is delicious!
Best memory: Not knowing the name and calling it the Red Door for about a month before a friend corrected me. I still think “look for the Red Door” sounds pretty cool though.
Place #2: The Grad Club – http://www.queensu.ca/gradclub/
A graduate student staple, the grad club is exactly what the name suggests. Graduate students from all disciplines come together to listen to live music at one of the best live music venues in Canada or test their mettle in Thursday’s Trivia Nights or just relax after a hard day in the lab/office/field on their patio. The food and camaraderie make this one of the best places to kick back and relax after a long day, and being right on campus makes it easy for everyone to meet at after work.
Best memory: Placing first in Trivia in a round dedicated to naming comic book heroes, and then placing first again the following week in the round dedicated to comic book villains. Yes, I’m a nerd. As if my Batman belt buckle wasn’t enough of an indication of that.
Place #1: The Tir Nan Og – http://kingston.tirnanogpubs.com/
The Tir has one of my favourite patios in Kingston. It wraps around the building, and has a beautiful view of Confederation Basin. They also host karaoke on Thursday nights, where you’ll find many of your colleagues belting out everything from Journey to Boyz II Men to Justin Bieber.
Best memory: Singing “Bohemian Rhapsody” with my entire MSc cohort. Also, going here after finishing the written part of my PhD Comprehensive Exams.
Honorable mentions: The Kingston Brew Pub (two patios and a great atmosphere), Milestones (gorgeous décor) and The Iron Duke (good food).
What are your favourite places in Kingston? Any places you recommend that I’ve missed?